The Building Safety Bill

In light of the tragedy of Grenfell tower, a number of enquiries and reviews have taken place to ensure that these tragic events could not be repeated. As part of this, the Building Safety Bill was introduced into parliament, which seeks to establish enhanced regulatory regimes for building safety in England and Wales. The Bill will address fire safety issues in higher-risk buildings and contain regulations regarding their design and construction.

The Accountable Person 

The Bill introduced two critical roles for those responsible for higher-risk buildings. Firstly, the role of the Accountable Person (AP). The AP is the person who has the legal estate in possession or is responsible under a repairing obligation for the common parts of the building. It could be a corporate entity or an individual. This is the “duty holder” who will hold a number of statutory in relation to the design and construction of the building. They will have ongoing duties when two or more resident households occupy the building. The AP is required to appoint a competent Building Safety Manager.  

The Building Safety Manager

A Building Safety Manager (BSM) will support the AP in the day-to-day management of the building. Their role is to ensure that the safety standards are adhered to and communicate this to the AP. This is a statutory role that requires someone to be organised and competent with the relevant skills, behaviour and knowledge. They have different duties to the AP, but the AP can appoint themselves to be the BSM.  

The Building Safety Alliance

The Building Safety Alliance is an independent non-profit organisation. It will carry out two functions in the first instance, including providing certification for BSMs. It will also maintain a publicly accessible register of those certified by the scheme. This will allow residents to check if the BSM meets minimum competency requirements.

In due course, the BSA will be responsible for evaluating other organisations that wish to deliver functions of a BSM. It will assist contractors and suppliers in higher-risk buildings and ensure that they are capable of delivering safe residential buildings.

Many of those who are part of the Alliance are experts from the social housing sector, residential management companies and fire safety experts. Some have worked on reports published by the Grenfell Competence Steering Group.

Overhauling Regulations

These measures will raise building safety standards and aim to prevent another tragedy from happening again. The register will give transparency to residents and assist with holding those responsible accountable where necessary. The AP and BSM will have to report to a regulator, and tougher penalties will be imposed for those who break the regulations. The government states that the Bill will overhaul regulations and create lasting, generational change.

Here to Help

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the Building Safety Bill, you can get in touch with our Property Litigation Solicitors on 0161 941 4000 or email the Property Litigation Team.